STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN

written by Michael Oshust

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble 1983

Chris Layton, Vaughan & Tommy Shannon

Stevie Ray Vaughan began playing guitar at age seven, initially inspired by his elder brother Jimmie. In 1972, he dropped out of high school and moved to Austin, Texas, where he began to have a following after playing gigs on the local club circuit.

 

In 1982, Stevie Ray Vaughan performed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. David Bowie saw him play and contacted him for a studio gig, resulting in Stevie playing his blues guitar on the album "Let's Dance." Within months Vaughan was signed to Epic Records and released his critically acclaimed debut album, "Texas Flood."

Vaughan released four studio albums and two live albums. "Couldn't Stand the Weather"  in May 1984, "Soul to Soul" in September 1985, and "In Step" in June 1989.

Stevie Ray Vaughan struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. He also had personal and professional pressures of fame and his marriage to Lenora "Lenny" Bailey. He completed rehabilitation and began touring again with Double Trouble in November 1986. His fourth and final studio album "In Step" reached No.33 in 1989, and it was one of his most successful releases.

On August 27, 1990, after performing at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin Stevie Ray Vaughan and four others boarded a helicopter. Stevie Ray Vaughan, agent Bobby Brooks, bodyguard Nigel Browne, and tour manager Colin Smythe died as the helicopter crashed into a nearby ski hill shortly after takeoff.

Vaughan's funeral service was held on August 31, 1990, at Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas, Texas. His wooden casket quickly became adorned with bouquets of flowers. An estimated 3,000 mourners joined a procession led by a white hearse. Among those at the public ceremony were Jeff Healey, Charlie Sexton, ZZ Top, Colin James, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt and Buddy Guy. Vaughan's grave marker reads: "Thank you ... for all the love you passed our way."

In his early years, Stevie Ray Vaughan often remarked that he would like to do an album with Jimmie Vaughan. That wish turned out to be his last studio performance. On September 25, 1990, "Family Style" was released. "Family Style" is the only studio album featuring guitarists and vocalists Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Shortly after this epic performance, Stevie Ray Vaughan was taken away from us.

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